Human animals, shows how the children are dehumanised

Human Experience in Eveline is evoked by the
characters being beaten down by a patriarchal society. In
‘Eveline’ the very mention of the Father in the story is abusive, ‘Her
father used often to hunt them in out of the field with his blackthorn
stick”, which connotes violence. The aggressive verb ‘hunt’ which one
normally applies to animals, shows how the children are dehumanised through the
actions of the Father which could be linked to the domestic abuse in the house
as well. Moreover, the almost predatory sexual actions of the Father ‘had begun to threaten her and say what he would do to
her only for her dead mother’s sake. And now she had nobody to protect her’ –
of course has a huge effect upon Eveline as she feels confused and conflicted
as the father is using the dead mother as a tool of manipulation. A Freudian interpretation
may note that these feelings are a result of a negative ‘Father Complex’ (Jung) where the daughter
is afraid or fearful of the father figure as a result of subconscious feelings
deepened by real life actions. Mansfield declared ‘I am so keen upon all women having a definite future –are
not you?’ highlighting the gap of privileges given to one sex and not the
other. The mother’s inability to change
inevitably saw her hamartia. She saw her
mother give in and have a “life
of commonplace sacrifices closing in final craziness”, this gives us an
insight to the state of women contextually but her ‘sense of duty’ to the
abusive Father figure and her mother’s dying wishes are perhaps the
circumstances that prevent her from leaving. Her own mother’s life can be seen
as Eveline’s future life in Dublin: It represents a woman’s role in Dublin and
if Eveline does not change her life then she is resigned to the fate or life as
her Mother. ‘Eveline’, being the protagonist,
manifests the powerlessness ‘that comes as a result of living in the prison of
self and society ‘ (Walzl, 1982).
Their inability to speak out against the inequality undoubtedly made the issue
unresolved. These
patriarchal themes are strengthened as the ‘evening’ that is a metaphor for the
characters incapacity to change, and as it gets darker, so do the hopes and
dreams of a better and different future, unable to rid the shackles of
oppression.

 

Whilst
Joyce implies that the Father figure is the most patriarchal semantic field, Mansfields
third person narrated ‘Frau
Brechenmacher Attends a wedding’ we see that both parental roles take part in
the domination of Rosa, for example as Rosa is helping her mother put out her father’s
clothes ‘”Here comes the father. You go into the bedroom and fetch my blue
silk handkerchief’, in reality she is being reared to perform duties for her
father and for him to reinforce his status. A deeper interpretation of this
could argue that Mansfield is showing that over time Rosa will simply take over
the Mother’s role in the house – to be dismissive. More interestingly because
contextually women were expected to serve men, to stay in the home and bring up
the children, they could never show their true identity, as this was the era of
modernism, where the class system was being shattered and there where unspoken
limitations of the old standards while accepting new ones. This can be seen
undoubtedly through Darwinism and first wave Feminism (such as the suffrage
movement western countries), both part of the new modernist era, highlight the
now fragmented and broken traditions of generations, religion and male
dominance.  Mansfield ‘Longed for power
over circumstance’, and one of the reasons why we never know what Theresa’s last
name is could be the loss of individualism as she is being married off.

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The Two
Gallants portrays Human experience in regard to the nature in which characters are diminished in the society they are in,
they are victims, as they aspire to be more than they are but are trodden down.
in the ‘Two Gallants’ the notion of
victimhood is explored but unlike the
title suggests, they are all but gallant. The story tells two Irish men,
angry at the absence of success in their life, turn to crime and exploitation
in order to live. Throughout they often demean
their very livelihood – ‘I know that game…it’s a mug’s game’, ‘damn the thing I
ever got out of it’. The informal noun ‘mug’ is commonly associated to someone
who has been made out to be a fool, the ‘game’ they are referring to is the
continuing cycle that they cannot seemingly escape, furthermore the reader must
question that was the lying and deceit worth it, considering all they received
was ‘a gold coin’. A deeper interpretation of a ‘gold coin’ could be
that it is only a means of distraction from the real problem, that being lack
of education and being in a rut caused by a classist society. One such example
in 1910s Ireland comes from a girl talking about the poverty and lack of
education, similar to that in the Two Gallants. (Jane Gray, 2012) ‘I
remember, of course, a lot about school because I had to walk three miles in
winter and summer ….. And it wasn’t easy, you know, and coming home
sometimes it would be, our teacher, I don’t know, the poor man, he seemed to
spend half his time in the clouds, he might get a fit of talking to someone
about something at half two when we should be going home and as a result we’d
be leaving at three or four and it would be dark by the time we’d get home
starving of the hunger’. This excellent sample shows what it would have been
like for the Two Gallants to make something of their life when even the
teaching is being taught by a ‘poor man’. One must consider
the context behind the desperation of the two thieves as Ireland had, not so
long before this was written (1845), had one of the worst famines in modern
history with hundreds of thousands emigrating to other areas, and the same
number dying with violence and poverty following. When this was written one
case saw 835 people live in just 15 houses showing the extent of the poverty
and disease rife in 1900s Ireland (Crowe). This applied to
Joyce’s life also, as when he moved to Paris he was desperately poor, ‘The family went hungry, and
had to beg for clothes, bedding and furniture’ (Magan, 2012) but apparently ‘Joyce always
paid for everyone in every bar, every taxi, every restaurant. It was crucial
that no one ever suspected how poor he was’ (Magan, 2012). A national
symbol of Ireland is the ‘Harp’ that is seen in ‘Two Gallants’, however when
they see the Harpist, they encounter the Harp and ‘seemed weary alike of the
eyes of strangers and of her master’s hands’, this is a direct link to their
own lives and Ireland itself, a beaten and ‘mournful’ state. While this music
is playing he later enjoys a meal of ‘peas’ and ‘ginger beer’ paralleling the
Irish flag, this direct comparison shows Lenehan’s washed up life, that lacks
direction and no answer to his problems.

Whilst human experience is seen in the way of
diminishing characters in ‘Two Gallants’, Mansfield adopts a theme of escapism
making Rosabel, from ‘The Tiredness of Rosabel’, wants to escape her society of
dull monotonous routine as a shop girl and dissatisfaction in her life. One way
in which Rosabel feels ‘wretched’ is the symbolic use of the ‘window’ to
represent her in a dreamlike state and imagining the prospects of her leaving
with Harry instead of the young girls who purchased the hat. This is
significant as it makes the reader realise how isolated Rosabel is, to the
extent where she is fantasising about married life (McManus,
2015)
She romanticises the idea. Does Rosabel know what married life meant if we
compare it to other short stories such as ‘Eveline’ and ‘Marriage a la mode’
which highlights the ever-changing dynamics of gender roles in the home which
switches from the man to the women. The naivety of Rosabel could ultimately
lead to her downfall as most marriages at the time were unfulfilling and tough.
‘Domestic
violence exists in many but not all
cultures throughout the world’ (Heise, 1995) and
continues to argue that it was completely within reason for a man to
domestically abuse his partner. A critical source said ‘Mansfield
wrote at a time when women, and some men, were questioning traditional gender
roles. The movement for women’s suffrage was demanding political equality’ (Seal, 2013). The young woman who
buys the hat in the store is of a higher class in nature compared to Rosabel,
more notably is that the young woman drives a car. In the time of publishing
(1908) women who drove cars must have been extremely wealthy and free from
social constraints, compared with the lower working class of Rosabel. Both
texts explore the nature of diminishing characters however in ‘The Tiredness of
Rosabel’ we explore this notion through isolationism rather than poverty and
desperation.